Sunday 4 December 2016

Austria v Republic of Ireland - story of the match

Published 12/11/2016 | 19:41

James McClean was the Republic's match-winner in Vienna
James McClean was the Republic's match-winner in Vienna

James McClean struck for the third time in two World Cup qualifiers to keep the Republic of Ireland firmly on track for Russia with a first victory over Austria since 1963.

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McClean's 48th-minute strike settled a hard-fought game in which Ireland were forced on to the back foot for long periods, but hit their hosts ruthlessly on the break to silence the locals at the Ernst Happel Stadium.

The 1-0 win leaves the Republic with 10 points from a possible 12 from their opening four qualifiers and firmly in the Group D mix ahead of their showdown with Wales in Dublin in March next year - a game which key man Robbie Brady will miss through suspension.

TWEET OF THE MATCH

"James McClean you are a Hero , well done kid Work rate Brilliant #Cheerspal." - former Republic defender Paul McGrath.

STAR MAN

McClean was a doubt for the game after reporting with a back injury which gave assistant manager Roy Keane cause for concern during the build-up. However, his tireless running was rewarded with the opportunity to snatch victory, and he did not let his country down when it mattered most.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Cohesive Irish attacks had been few and far between until that point, but there was a beautiful simplicity about Ireland's goal. Wes Hoolahan knew exactly what he was doing when he played McClean into acres of space, and his pace and assured finish complemented the perfect pass.

THE LUCK OF THE IRISH

Ireland enjoyed a major stroke of good fortune six minutes before the break when the crossbar came to their rescue. Darren Randolph was left horribly exposed as Marcel Sabitzer broke into space inside the box and his chipped effort as the goalkeeper advanced looked destined for the back of the net until it hit the bar and was scrambled away.

RATINGS

Republic

Darren Randolph: 6

Seamus Coleman: 6

Shane Duffy: 6

Ciaran Clark: 7

Robbie Brady: 6

Glenn Whelan: 5

Jeff Hendrick: 6

Harry Arter: 7

Wes Hoolahan: 7

James McClean: 8

Jonathan Walters: 7

Substitutes

David Meyler (for Whelan, 24 mins): 6

David McGoldrick (For Hoolahan, 78 mins): 5

Aiden McGeady (for McClean, 86 mins): 5

WHO'S UP NEXT?

Austria v Slovakia (Friendly, November 15)

Republic of Ireland v Wales (World Cup qualifier, March 24)

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